Code 3's

Engine 32
A Review

By:  Dave Ostertag - Jacksonville, FL *

Code 3 continues to show the collecting world that they are THE name in 1/64 scale fire apparatus. Ever since their inception, they have continued to appease firematic collectors across the globe with highly-detailed models of unique, hard-working, and just plain good looking fire apparatus. Their latest release from the Sunshine State is no exception. Of course, I may be biased.

First, a few words about Jacksonville and its fire department. Jacksonville is the largest city in the continental United States, covering about 840 square miles. The Jacksonville Fire-Rescue Department is responsible for fire and Emergency Medical Service response for the entire area, with exception of Jacksonville Beach, where JFRD is responsible for EMS response only. JFRD currently operates 52 stations. Among them are 52 Engine companies, 29 rescue units, 11 ladders, 11 tankers, 6 brush trucks, 3 marine units, and 10 chief's SUVs. Of the 52 Engines, 27 are American LaFrance Eagles, representing a three year contract with ALF for an extensive fleet replacement.

Station 32 is located at 8179 Hammond Boulevard, in an area of town known as Marietta. They cover a residential area, an industrial park, two large grocery store distribution complexes, and two very busy interstate highways. They are consistently one of the busiest stations in Jacksonville. Station 32 houses Engine 32, Rescue 32, Tanker 32, and Brush 32.

Station 32 - 8179 Hammond Blvd.

Engine 32 is a 2000 American LaFrance Eagle. It is the first of 15 delivered that year. It has a 1500 GPM two-stage pump, and 600 gallon water tank. Jacksonville, Florida's Engine 32 was released by Code 3 in June of 2003. It measures 5 3/4" L x 2" W x 1 3/4" H. It is a pretty standard size as far as engines go.

I figured that since Code 3 was releasing Engine 32 late in the run of ALF Eagles, that details were going to be left off, and it would be a shoddy rendition of a real Jacksonville Engine. Fortunately, I wasn't as right as I expected. There were details missing, but overall I was impressed with the effort Code 3 put into making this piece. The new molding features high side roll-up rescue-style compartments on the body. However, the rear step area was not retooled to reflect the Jacksonville apparatus, as shown below.

Photo of Code 3's model

The "real" Engine 32


Despite the differences, it's a nice model. The cab is 99.9% accurate. Some other nice features of the model are the detailed grab handles on the cab and pump panel, and the handles on the roll-up doors. All emergency lighting is accurate except for the lights on the rear of the body, and two missing scene lights on the front of the body.  Most of them are plastic lenses, and not painted over. Another great feature is the very detailed graphics on all sides of the truck. Even the motor pool number and the tiny letters in the American LaFrance logo are able to be read. Code 3 has definitely mastered this art.

Close up of cab detail

Some collectors have commented that this model is boring. Overall, the truck is a decent model of a Jacksonville Fire-Rescue Apparatus that is designed to work, and not be particularly flashy.

And now I get to nitpick details. What are the differences? There is no equipment on the front bumper. There is no cover over the crosslays. There is no booster reel. The exhaust is located in 3 different places, it should only be located on the officer's side in front of the rear wheels. The stripe on the rear body should be almost even with the top of the roll up door handles. There are no scene lights on the front of the body. The rear beacons on the body are wrong. The single amber LED warning light is missing. The arrow stick should be removed. The hosebed area is too wide. The rear compartments are missing. The rear step area is incorrect.

This item, like all other Code 3 releases, is a limited edition piece. It has an edition size of 3000 pieces. The retail price on Code 3's web site is $34.99, and is still available. It is packaged in a plastic dome for those collectors who want to keep the dust off their models. You may visit by clicking the icon below.

* Dave is a Dispatcher / EMT with Jacksonville Fire Rescue

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